Medallion commemorating the 1956 Melbourne Olympic Games that belonged to Arthur Calwell #2010-0275
Medallion in plastic case; relief sculpture of a group of marching athletes and the inscription ‘OLYMPIC GAMES MELBOURNE 1956…’ with the City of Melbourne arms and the Olympic symbol on the reverse. The medallion was designed by Andor Meszaros.
This medallion, designed by Mr Andor Meszaros, is part of a collection of objects that belonged to Arthur Calwell, Australia’s first Minister for Immigration (1945-49) that were donated to the museum by his daughter, Dr Mary Elizabeth Calwell.
All people involved in the organisation of the 1956 Melbourne Olympic Games, as well as the 2830 runners who carried the Olympic flame from Cairns to Melbourne, were presented with one of these medallions. The Melbourne Summer Olympic Games of 1956 are one of the great ‘coming of age’ moments in the history of post-war Australia, and represent a watershed in the history of the modern Olympic movement. They were the first to be held in the Southern Hemisphere, and the first to stage a freely-mingling march of all athletes at the closing ceremony. Calwell’s role in ensuring the games took place in Melbourne was one aspect of the close tie between federal politics and these games. The key role of Liberal Member of Parliament Wilfrid Kent Hughes in running the games also attests to this strong connection.